January 31, 2021
Today, we celebrate the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Our first reading this weekend is from the Book of Deuteronomy. Moses speaks to the people who have asked God for prophets, like Moses, who will tell them what they need to hear, but oftentimes, as we see in the history of Israel, not what they want to hear. Prophets were chosen by God throughout the Old Testament right up until the advent of the Messiah. Our passage spells out the role of the prophet; to speak only what God commands. Today’s Gospel records Jesus at His 2nd ‘hometown’, Capernaum. He’s a sensation among the people because He preaches in the synagogue with an authority the people aren’t used to. His words (and deeds), astonished the people and His reputation spreads throughout the whole region of Galilee. In this period of Ordinary Time, we are called to listen and see the authority of Jesus anew; to be astonished, and to open our hearts to Him. Today’s Responsorial Psalm reminds us that we are not to be like the fickle Israelites who time and time in their journey in the desert tested and tempted God. We’re told, “If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” Ordinary Time, ordinary life is where God speaks to our hearts if we are attuned to His voice. Pray this week to be.
This weekend, as promised, we are giving the traditional St. Blasé Day Blessing of Throats after Masses. We ask the intercession of this powerful saint to deliver us from all diseases of the throat and from every other illness. And who, of us in this pandemic, doesn’t need that?
As we enter the month of February this coming week, our brief season of Ordinary Time will shortly be coming to an end. Lent begins this year mid-month, on Feb. 17th. Last year we really didn’t have much of Lent and no Easter celebrations until almost Pentecost. With the Covid vaccines continuing to made available I am looking forward to our regular annual retreat time with Jesus, entering the desert off our hearts to rediscover in Him our true source of living water. Begin now planning how to make Lent 2021 a special time for your spiritual life. Think of both sacrifices you want to offer up and what things you plan to do to make Lent a time of deeper prayer, fasting, and showing works of mercy. As we begin each Lent and are signed with ashes may we hear afresh the challenge to “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
At our recent Finance Council meeting we reviewed the revenues and expenses for the past six months for St. Luke Parish. While the pandemic has certainly affected almost every parish’s income and brought challenges to some, I must say that I am grateful to each and every contributing parishioner for your good stewardship. I know it is a difficult time for all of us, especially those who are currently out of work. Your dedication to ensuring that we are able to pay bills in a timely manner makes me proud of the way we all recognize the challenge and are striving to rise to the occasion. I can’t say it enough: God bless you and thank you.
Finally today, next weekend Msgr. Morris will be covering the two weekend masses for me. This is my annual week with brother priests and Bishop Stika in warmer climates. This year we will be gathering in Ft. Meyers and touring the Sanibel Island region. I will be back the following Saturday in time for confessions and Mass. I am grateful to the good Monsignor for his generosity.
God Bless! Make it a great week!
Please continue praying 3 Hail Marys.